Frequencies for Sale

Frequencies for Sale

Buy a 440 Hz; get an 880 Hz for half price!


I don’t normally answer the phone in my studio, but on this early morning everyone else was out, so I had no choice. On the phone was a man inquiring about studio time, and his first question was, “Does your studio get that big bass sound?” Er, good question. My reply was, “As you know, those nasty low bass frequencies are down around 30-40 Hz (cycles per second). Sound travels at an average rate of 1,120 feet per second, so by dividing 30 into 1,130, we get 37.7 feet, which is the actual length of the waveform.” [true]


Since there was nobody around to stop me, I went off. “Bass frequencies cost more than treble frequencies because the waveforms are bigger and they cost more to ship. But we buy them in bulk and get them straight from the bass laboratory, thus eliminating the middle man and passing the savings on to you.” [false]


He seemed confused, so I continued. “As you know, the frequency and size of a waveform are inversely related, so by doubling the cycles per second, you’re cutting he size of the wave in half. [true] A 40 Hz waveform could take close to 30 feet of storage space, and smaller studios just don’t have the room. So they stock the 80s, put them though a bass enhancer, and try to trick you into thinking they’re the 40s. Not us. We keep the 40s in stock so you won’t run out of bass in the middle of a mix and have to wait until next week’s shipmen t to finish your production.” [false]


He seemed impressed and asked, “Now what about the highs?” I let out a big sigh before I answered. “The ultra high end, around 15 kHz ad above, adds a nice, open top to your mix, and the waveforms themselves are tiny, just fractions of an inch. The velocity of a sound wave is temperature dependent and increases at a rate of 1.1ft./sec for each degree increase in temperature. [true] We keep all our high-end frequencies in our refrigerated storage facility, so they sound fresh and crisp when you get them. [false] I’m sure you’ve heard records that sound full and lifeless?” “Yes!” he replied. “Like that old Jodeci record!” “Exactly. The cooling system went down and no one discovered it until after the record was released.” Well, this guy was no pushover, so he put it to me. “So how do I know that the same thing won’t happen at your studio? I don’t want to finish my mix and then find out later on I got lukewarm highs.”


“I can see that nothing gets by you,” I said. “Well after that Jodeci episode, we got a special alarm that monitors the temperature in the frequency locker. But no one offers you the rate per frequency that we do. Most of the smaller studios don’t have the budget or space to store the waveforms properly. Hey, don’t take my word for it. Call up some studios and ask them if they have an alarm for the high-frequency locker. If they pretend they don’t know what you’re talking about, you have your answer!”


“Thanks I will,” he said. Wow, he was a tough one. But he called back a half hour later and told me that all the studios he called pretended not to know anything about storing waveforms. One studio even hung up on him. He was happy with all the knowledge I bestowed upon him, so he booked the studio time. I started feeling guilty and finally admitted to him that I was just kidding around and there is no refrigerated storage for high-frequency waveforms. He started laughing and said, “I just knew you had to be kidding around. All right, you got me. But you do stock the bass waves, right?” I couldn’t resist, so I admitted we did. But just for being a good sport, I told him I’d throw in a 6:1 compression ratio for the price of a 3:1. That’s a 50 percent saving, and boy was he thrilled. Now you know why I don’t answer the phone.

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